The Gene Therapy Spree Rolls on With $3 Billion Astellas Deal

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Good afternoon, readers.

Biogen paid $800 million for Nightstar Therapeutics. Drug giant Roche wants to pony up $4.3 billion deal for Spark Therapeutics in a deal that’s now been extended more than a half dozen times.

And now, Japanese pharma giant Astellas Pharma wants to pay $3 billion to buy the biotech Audentes Therapeutics.

What do all of these proposed M&As have in common? They represent traditional drug giants making bets on the red-hot experimental gene therapy field.

Legacy biopharma companies have been pursuing these gene therapy bolt-on acquisitions at a rapid clip—especially after several major Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals for pioneering (though, in some cases, controversially expensive treatments) that hold the promise of curing certain conditions after just one course of treatment.

But the question is whether this is just the drug industry’s latest bubble—or if this particular movement has staying power.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee

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